Incentive travel was strong in Hawaii in February 2010, up 30.3 percent from last year. The Diana group from Japan, a lingerie company, added to the 43.4 percent increase for incentive travel from that market. Incentive travel was also up for other markets led by Canada with a 78 percent increase, US East with a 24.3 percent increase, and US West with a 9.2 percent increase.
Significant increases from Canada for the second consecutive month were main contributors to the boost in numbers for Maui, with a 16.2 percent increase in arrivals and 15.4 percent increase in visitor spending to US$95.2 million. Again, airlift played a critical role with many Canadian snowbirds taking advantage of direct flights to Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. Total seat capacity from Canada rose 37.6 percent over last year with the additional flights from Calgary, Victoria, and Vancouver.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) said it was great to see results from the groundwork that they laid in 2008 when they shifted a lot of their programs within their Corporate Meetings & Incentives market to target incentive travel.
Momentum from the strong fourth quarter in 2009 continued through February 2010 as anticipated. Despite the Pro Bowl not being in Hawaii this year, total visitor arrivals and spending held stable over last year.
The growth in arrivals and spending for Maui underscores the importance of airlift and affirms HTA’s continual efforts toward increasing air access, especially direct flights, from key markets. HTA is working with its marketing partners to beef up efforts to increase arrivals and spending for the neighbor islands, which is a key component in its Strategic Plan.